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Importance of Motivation to Learn

Info: 5435 words (22 pages) Dissertation
Published: 13th Dec 2019

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Tagged: Workplace Training

Area of Study: Training & Development

Motivation to Learn Affects the Relationship between Management’s Role in Training Programs and Job Performance

Chapter 1 Introduction


Background of the study (management’s role in training programs based on literature) (discuss training program eg def, traditional, contemporary, significance)

(3 pages)

The term “management” is defined as a group of people such as executives and other managers who are primarily responsible for making decisions in the organization. In a non-profit term, “management” might refer to all or any of the activities of the board, executive director and/ or program directors. Another common traditional view of “management” is getting things done through other people. Apart from the traditional view, the role of management is to support the employee’s performance and productivity through training and development.

In the contemporary view, human resource practitioners suggests that management needs to focus more on leadership skills such as establishing vision and goals, communicating the vision and goals, and guiding others to accomplish them. They also assert that leadership must be more facilitative, participative and empower in how visions and goals are established and carried out (McNamara, 2007).

According to the Mintzberg’s Managerial Roles theory, management roles in the organization include interpersonal roles, informational roles and decisional roles. Management role as a leader responsible for the motivation of subordinates and provide training to the employees (Coulter and Robbins, 2005). Traditional autocratic organization with its hierarchical management systems that forces performance out of its employees is outmoded.

The modern management encourages the practice of empowerment by letting workers make decisions and inspiring people to boost productivity (Allen, 1998). Nowadays, employee’s performance and productivity are enhanced through motivation and intensive training program. Effective training is a crucial developmental opportunities in attracting and promoting commitment among talented employees (Noe, 2003, cited in Buyens & Wouters, 2004).

Training programs is defined as a planned learning event in a systematic fashion that focuses on the work environment. From this point of view, the training process can be defined as the systematic acquisition of skills, rules, concepts, or attitudes that result in improved performance in the work environment. There has been a considerable research into the effectiveness of training (Baldwin & Ford, 1988). A study conducted by Guerrero and Barraud-Didier (2004) found a significant link between training and organizational performance. (cited in Tzafrir, 2006). There has been a major revolution in the world of training and development starting in the 1980s. Traditional vocational training is no longer effective and it is replaced by competence-based training. The concept of competence includes the element of observable knowledge, skills and understanding to ensure effective performance (Brookes, 1995).

When it comes to training, managers play a critical role before and after an employee sign up for a training course (Gittlen, 2001). Several researchers (e. g. Tsui, Pearce, Porter, and Tripoli , 1997) found training was associated with higher levels of employee affective commitment. Managers’ level of involvement in reviewing the training coursework could make a huge difference for the company’s return on its training investment and training transfer.

The manager’s role in training includes proactively identifying the strengths and weaknesses of employees, identify suitable training program, design suitable training coursework, develop training benchmarks and evaluate and communicate the outcome of training to the upper management and subordinates (Gittlen, 2001). Managers need to be personally involved in the training of their employees, since the nature and quality of the training directly relates to their effectiveness on the job.

Research has been revealed the importance of environmental factor such as management’s role when predicting individual attitudes and behaviours. Supportive management’s roles in training program may contribute to the positive individual attitudes and boost work performance. Employees are left without support, encouragement and motivation when the management is not involved in the training program.

This is the problem that most of the organization faces today. Without management support, the training often fails to transfer to improve the trainee’s attitudes and performance (Coates, 2007). Although management plays a significant role in training, the effectiveness of training is estimated to be low because there is little application of training results in actual work practices (Broad & Newstrom, 1992; Baldwin & Ford, 1988).

Further understanding of the relationships between managerial communication and employee’s attitudes and behaviours would be extremely valuable for organizations (Wilkins, 1989). Roberts and O’Reilly (1979, p. 42) propose the need for specificity in investigating communication in organizations by stating that “theories relevant to communication in organizations cannot be developed until facets of organizational communication are specified and some of their correlates identified”. (as cited in Goris, 2007).

In Australia many companies are currently addressing the issue of reward and recognition for employees as part of quality and continuous improvement programs, but there remain no general guidelines or descriptions of such programmes which are readily available (London and Higgot, 1997). Informal rewards such as non-monetary recognition is increasing today as an employee’s motivators. Informal rewards are given less research attention in the management literature and practice (Nelson, 2002).

Traditional rewards such as compensation and promotion are becoming less effective to motivate employees to achieve high performance and commitment (Nelson, 2002). As Drucker points out: “Economic incentives are becoming rights rather than rewards”. Merit raises are usually introduced as rewards for good performance and in no time it will become a right rather than rewards. Merit raises are always introduced as rewards for exceptional performance. In no time at all they become a right. To deny a merit raise or to grant only a small one becomes punishment. The increasing demand for material rewards is rapidly destroying their usefulness as incentives and managerial tools”. Thus, this situation might destroy employees’ learning motivation and transfer of training.

Motivation to learn is also one the critical determinant in the training effectiveness (Mathieu et al., 1993; Mathieu and Martineau, 1997; Tannenbaum and Yukl, 1992, as cited in Tsai & Tai, 2003). Some past studies suggested motivation to learn played a more determinant role than other individual factors in regard to training performance (Tai, 2006; Cheng & Ho, 2001). Post training motivation is also linked to the employee’s behavioural change (Noe, 1986, cited in Shoobridge, n. a.). Noe (1986) assumed that motivation affects trainee’s enthusiasm for training (energising), the direction of participants to learn and master training (directing), and the use of knowledge and skills on the job (maintenance) (cited in Nijman et al., 2006).

Goldstein and Ford (2002) propose that trainee factors like readiness and motivation to learn along with work characteristics such as opportunity to practice, organizational climate and supervisor support should be investigated in developing effective training program (as cited in Shoobridge, n. a). Those points emphasize the need for additional research about the role of motivation to learn in the relationship between management’s role and individual attitudes and behaviours.

Further research should be conducted to identify and remove the major impediments that prevent the effectiveness of training program. The importance of this study is to elaborate and integrate some of the key factors that can influence the effectiveness of training transfer. This study is also intended to extend previous researches that linked management’s role and individual attitudes and performance.

Background of management’s role in training programs in the studied organisation

The past 10 years have witnessed the increasing of research literature in the field of training and development. The training literature is characterised by a multidisciplinary (organisational psychology, business and management literatures) approach to training design, practice, research and evaluation (Shoobridge, n.a.). Most of past researches highlight the significant developments in training methodology, evaluation, theory (Salas and Canon-Bowers, 2001) and focused solely on the training instructional methods (Noe, 1986) (cited in Shoobridge, n. a.).

Early empirical research studying the effects of individual’s factors (eg trainee ability, personality, and motivation) and work environment on transfer of training is very few (Baldwin and Ford, 1988). Further, past researches focus in defining training program and what it is designed to achieve (Salas, 2001) instead of focusing on the influences of work environment.

In the past, training is perceived as an independent event (Salas and Canon-Bowers, 2001; Goldstein, 2002, cited in Shoobridge, n. a.). Traditional training focused on the trainer (Berge et al., 2002). Trainers are expected to demonstrate the link between training and organizational outcomes (Church & Waclawski, 2001; Hesketh, 1999), to evaluate training (Warr, Allan & Birdi, 1999), and to justify organizational investment in training programs (Baldwin & Ford, 1988; Salas & Canon-Bowers, 2001; Warr et al, 1999, cited in Shoobridge, n. a.). Gill (1995) analyzed traditional program-driven training and found the role of the training department is to conduct the need analysis and set the goals which are defined as learning outcomes.

Recent studies (direct effects model)

The fall of the Berlin wall and the opening of the communist bloc to Western capitalism increased the pace of globalization (Berge et al., 2002). Training and development reacted to the reality of globalization with an increased use of system approaches (McLagan, 1996). In recent years, training is perceived as having a strategic focus, as an event that occurs within organizational framework, custom designed to overcome employee’s deficiencies and to meet organizational outcomes (Salas, 2001; Goldstein, 2002).

Line managers have the responsibility to conduct needs analysis. The goals of the training programs are defined as business results, are based on performance, and are linked to strategic goals. Organization realized that well-designed training instruction is no longer guarantee performance. Training instruction is just one of many solutions to performance improvement (Berge et al., 2002).

Recently, more research has been done to explain individual, attitudinal, and environmental impacts on the transfer process and outcomes where some of them have shown high value relatively (Cheng & Ho, 2001). Recent studies also have focused to concerns over the “transfer of training problem” (Salas, 2001). Researchers have investigated various factors that might influence transfer of knowledge, skills and attitudes. Several researchers proposed both individual and organizational contextual factors as antecedents of learning and transfer of learning (Baldwin & Ford, 1988; Colquitt et al., 2000; Mathieu & Martineau, 1997).

Empirical studies supported the relationship between management roles (e. g. support, communication, training assignment) and transfer of training (e. g job performance). For example, in two early studies made by Rouiller & Goldstein (1993) and Tracey et al. (1995), they found that management trainees in supportive workplace were more likely to demonstrate trained behaviours compared to trainees in non-supportive workplace.

A thorough review of training prog literature – mediating model

State the nature of the problem that motivates you to further explore

Consistent with Noe’s (1986) observation, previous research on transfer of training has focused primarily on issues concerning training design. Most of the research is done specifically the appropriateness of various instructional methods. The issues of environmental characteristics such as the transfer climate (managerial support, managerial communication, and managerial rewards) have received less research attention. Despite recognition of the importance of environmental factors, empirical research examining the impact of these factors is very limited (Baldwin & Ford, 1988). Thus, the lack of research on work environment motivates the researcher to conduct this line of research.

Furthermore, Ripley stressed “A review of eleven best-selling introductory HRM textbooks from Australia, New Zealand, and the United States indicates that, generally, there is a heavy focus on individual factors and a lack of significant emphasis on the importance of work environment factors in effective training” (Ripley (n. d.), “Introduction” section, para. 1). The work environment characteristic such as the role of management in training is less emphasized. Work environment impacts individual behaviours in training transfer.

Moreover, human resource practitioner and training designer have given less attention to the impact of work environment in training design and implementation. As Ripley (n. d.) states “Impact of work environment factors is generally not taken into account in discussions of how training programs should be designed and implemented” (Ripley (n. d.), “Abstract” section, para. 1). It means the issue of work environment characteristics is neglected. He suggested that work environment issues should be taken into account when designing and implementing training program. Thus, this issue motivates the researcher to conduct a research base on work environment factors.

In addition, most organization suffers from “training transfer problem”. Trainees have high motivation to learn following the training. However, the motivation fades away as they return to the workplace. Knowledge, skills and attitudes that they had learned from a training program could not be reinforce in the job. As Allan (2003) states “My experience with surveys that I have conducted is that the initial enthusiasm quickly wanes once the trainees return to the reality of their workplace” (“Introduction” section, para. 7).

In Australia, companies spend up to five billion dollars in training and development but only 20 percent of expenditure actually giving benefits to the companies (Allan, 2003). While in the United States, it is estimated that organizations spend up to USD 100 billion on training and development annually. However, not more than 10 per cent of the spending results in transfer to the job (Baldwin & Ford, 1988). The findings suggest that training transfer problem is a global issue that should be addressed.

Noe (1986) suggested that motivation to learn and attitudes are malleable individual difference factors that play a critical role in achieving training effectiveness. Although there is an existence of preliminary support for the relationship between contextual factors and learning outcome (Tracey et al., 1995) and between work environment and training motivation (Tracey et al., 2001), researchers suggests further exploration of the role of motivation in the relationship between contextual or environment factors and various training outcomes.

Tracey et al. (2001, pp. 20-21) state: “Future research should examine the impact of training motivation on other types and levels of effectiveness criteria.” Thus, this research is not only replicate previous studies but also responds to the calls from other researchers to further explore the roles of motivation to learn in the relationship between work environment (management’s role) and employee’s attitudes and performance.

Objective of the study

1.4.1 General Objective

The general objective of this research is to examine the effect of motivation to learn in the relationship between management’s roles and individual attitudes and behaviours.

1.4.2 Specific Objectives

  • To determine the effect of motivation to learn in the relationship between managerial support and individual job performance
  • To determine the effect of motivation to learn in the relationship between managerial communication and job performance
  • To determine the effect of motivation to learn in the relationship between managerial recognition and job performance
  • Research framework

Provide theoretical evidence before drawing a conceptual schema

(3 pages)

Managerial Support/recognition

Job Performance

Motivation to Learn/transfer

Managerial Communication

Assignment method

Research hypothesis

Provide empirical evidence to support each hypothesis

(at least 1 case study/survey for 1 hypothesis)

H1: Motivation to learn affects the relationship between managerial support and job performance

H2: Motivation to learn affects the relationship between managerial communication and job performance

H3: Motivation to learn affects the relationship between managerial recognition and job performance

  • Definitions of term

Conceptual definitions of term – language/organisation/hr perspective

1.7.1 Managerial support

Conceptual Definition

The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines “support” as “help or encouragement given to somebody or something especially in a difficult situation”. In human resource perspective, managerial support is defined as immediate supervisor provides and facilitates the transfer of employee’s knowledge, skills and attitudes. It is the extent to which supervisors behave in a way that is optimises employees’ use on the job of the knowledge, skills and attitudes gained in training (Nijman, 2004). Managerial support can be in a form of verbal and non verbal cues. Verbal and non verbal cues include encouragement to attend, goal-setting activities, reinforcement activities, and modelling of behaviours (Baumgartel, Reynolds & Pathan 1984; Huczynski & Lewis, 1980; Maddox, 1987).

Operational Definition

In this study, managerial support is defined as immediate supervisor gives encouragement to the subordinates to attend training program, goal-setting activities prior and after training program, reinforcement activities to encourage trainees apply newly acquired knowledge, skills and attitudes from training to the actual workplace, and modelling of behaviours as a non verbal cues to encourage trainees to apply knowledge, skills and attitudes.

1.7.2 Managerial communication

Conceptual Definition

The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines “communication” as an act “to make one’s ideas, feelings clear to others; to exchange information, news, ideas, etc with somebody”. Communication is both an observable and a changeable supervisory behaviour (Wilkins, 1989). In organization context, Katz and Kahn (1978) provide a comprehensive categorization of the types of communication which take place from supervisor to subordinate. The five types of communication are job instruction, job rationale, procedures and practices, feedback, and indoctrination of goals. The relationship between supervisory communication and subordinate performance and satisfaction among professionals.doc

Operational Definition

In this study, managerial communication is defined as immediate supervisor communicate the information about the specific training program to subordinates, discussion of what is expected to be learn in the training program, and provides constructive performance feedback to the trainees.

1.7.3 Managerial Recognition

Conceptual Definition

The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines “informal” as “not official or not following established procedures”. The word “recognition” is defined as the act “to show official appreciation for somebody’s ability or achievements, for example by giving them an award”. Thus, informal recognition means to show appreciation to somebody through unofficial procedures.

In organization, recognition is used to show the company appreciates employees’ efforts, their unique gifts and contributions (Gentry, 2007). Tracey describes recognition as “intangible, non-monetary acknowledgement of outstanding performance in the form of praise, accolades, commendations, appreciations and tributes. It may be formal or informal”. (Gentry, 2007).

Operational Definition

In this study, managerial recognition refers to manager provides an informal recognition when the trainees are able to practice the newly acquired knowledge, skills and attitudes to the workplace. Informal recognition program by the manager is communicated to all employees before, during and after the training program to motivate the employees.

Recognition are such as the manager congratulates subordinate who are able to do a good job, manager writes a personal notes for good performance, manager publicly recognizes employees for good performance, and manager hold a morale-building meeting to celebrate successes.

Motivation to Learn

Conceptual Definition

The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines “motivation” as “the interest of somebody” or to cause somebody to want to do something. “Learn” means “to gain knowledge or skill by study, experience or being taught”. Motivation is typically defined as “variability in behaviour not attributable to stable individual differences or strong situational coercion” (Quin˜ones, 1997, pp. 182-3). Therefore, it is likely that trainees cannot obtain the full benefits of training without considering training motivation (Tai, 2006). Motivation to learn also influences the willingness of an employee to attend the training (Maurer and Tarulli, 1994; Noe and Wilk, 1993) and affects a trainee’s decision to exert energy toward the training program (Ryman and Biersner, 1975).

Operational Definition

Motivation to learn is defined as a trainee has a desire and willingness to learn the content of the training program. An employee with high motivation to learn is likely to be able to learn the content of the training program and transfer the knowledge, skills, and attitudes to the workplace.

Motivation to Transfer

Motivation to transfer can be seen as the trainee’s desire to use what she or he has learned on returning to work. Short and long term training transfer.pdf

Job performance

Conceptual Definition

The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines “job” as “a particular piece of work or task”. “Performance” is “an action or achievement, considered in relation to how successful it is”. Therefore, job performance is an achievement in the context of profession. In organizational context, job performance is associated with transfer of training. Trainees’ who are able to apply the content of the training to the workplace is likely to perform well.

Operational Definition

Job performance in this study means the training outcome and the ability of the trainee to apply newly acquired knowledge, skills and attitudes upon returning to the workplace.

Significance of the study

Significant to theory/body of knowledge

Another significance of the study is to provide a better understanding of the factors which would affect the transfer of training. This study could enhance our understanding of the problems underlying the transfer of training. A better understanding about the influence of motivation to learn and management’s role on individual behaviours could lead to improvement and enhancement in training program. Thus, it could promote transfer of training that leads to improvement in job performance.

Further, this study could support the relevant theories that support the relationship between management’s role, motivation to learn and individual behaviours. Besides that, the empirical findings of this study could support the previous researches. In fact, most of the theories and researches were developed and made in the context of western countries. More research should be made locally to determine whether or not the theories and findings can be applied in the context of our country.

Significant to research methodology

Additionally, this study has a significant impact to the research methodology. Empirical findings from literature review, survey questionnaires and in-depth interview could increase the validity and reliability of the study. With increased validity and reliability, errors can be minimized in the data collection procedure. This study could serve as a guideline for future researchers that try to extend in this line of research.

Significant to practitioners

This study also could assist organizations in designing the appropriate management’s role to maximizing the effectiveness of training transfer. The outcome of the study may serve as guidelines to human resource practitioners to develop a work environment that could motivate workers to improve their attitudes and performance. This study also aims to provide empirical evidence to all human resource practitioners about the effects of motivation to learn in the relationship between management’s role and employee’s attitudes.

Besides, this study would ensure the human resource practitioner, training designer, as well as co-worker to realize the importance of management’s role in contributing to the effectiveness of training. The trainer and designer of the training program can improve and identify the weaknesses of the present and future training program with the better understanding of management’s role factors that influence the transfer of training.

Research methodology & procedure

1.10 References (APA/Havard Style)

Chapter 2 Literature Review

2.0 Introduction

Chapter 2 covers the literature review about the relevant theories and some of the past empirical researches that have been done on this research line. These theories and past researches will be used to explain about the relationship of the managerial roles, motivation to learn and job performance.

2.1 Conceptual Framework

Support (morale and material)

Job Performance



Training Motivation

Job Commitment

Training Assignment

(Mandatory/ Voluntary)

Mentoring (formal/informal)(individual/group)


2.2 Training Program Defined

Early definition of training program is a planned learning experience which is designed to improve an individual’s knowledge, skills and behaviours (Campbell et al., 1970). In later years, training program is defined as a planned effort made by organization to facilitate an employee’s learning of specific knowledge, skills and attitudes to be successful in their job (Goldstein, 1992). Potential factor affect training.pdf

2.3 Role of Training Program

Purpose, approaches, significance & impact on org and employees

A strategic approach to training…..training program measurement.pdf

Purpose of Training Program

The purpose of a training program in organizations is to facilitate employees to learn, grow and cope with the issues that are important to them. Training program also help employees to gain knowledge, skills and attitudes to improve job performance and organization’s effectiveness (Tai, 2006; Treven, 2003; Ibrahim Mamat, 2001).

Training involves the changing of employees’ interaction with their co-workers and supervisors (Treven, 2003). Most of training program in organization is developed and provided by trainers, managers, and in-house training consultants. It can also be outsourced to external training providers (Ibrahim Mamat, 2001).

Green (1999) argue the main purpose of training is to foster the organization’s common culture, enhance employees’ commitment and attract good quality workers instead of just simply improving employees’ skills. Potential factor affect training.pdf. Training system should be in line with ongoing organizational process while training programs should be in in line with organizational strategic goals (Chen et al., 2007). Potential factor affect training.pdf.

Training Delivery Methods

Training is delivered in various methods depending on needs analysis. Managers will choose a method based on training objective (DeSimone, Werner & Harris, 2002; Ibrahim, 1993). It is important to consider employees’ current level of expertise before managers choose a training method (DeSimone, Werner & Harris, 2002). Training methods can be classified into three broad categories such as on-the-job training, classroom training (Robbins & Coulter, 2005; Treven, 2003; Ibrahim Mamat, 2001) and self-paced training (DeSimone et al., 2002).

On-the-job training (OJT) is the most common training conducted in the workplace (DeSimone, Werner & Harris, 2002). Trainees are required to perform the task right after a brief introduction to the task (Robbins & Coulter, 2005). OJT have advantages than classroom training because trainees have the opportunity to practice work task (DeSimone, Werner & Harris, 2002). Moreover, OJT reduces cost because organization doesn’t have to provide training equipment or trainer (DeSimone, Werner & Harris, 2002) and OJT have the ability of integrating job cycle method (Ibrahim Mamat, 2001).

Job rotation is defined as a formal and planned training program which allocates employees to perform various jobs in different departments. Trainees are usually supervised by the department supervisor. Job rotation is usually implemented to train employees about the different functional areas, career objectives and interests, (Treven, 2003) International training:training of managers for asgnment abroad.pdf. and getting exposure to variety of tasks (Coulter & Robbins, 2005). Job rotation requires trainees to learn more by observing and practicing new skills rather than receiving instruction (DeSimone, Werner & Harris, 2002).

Coaching is defined as informal and unplanned training and development activities provided by supervisors and peers (Harris, 1997). International training:training of managers for asgnment abroad.pdf. Trainees are working together with senior and experienced workers who provide information and support (Coulter & Robbins,….). Coaching should be viewed as supplement rather than substitute to formal training program (Treven, 2003) International training:training of managers for asgnment abroad.pdf.

Classroom training method is defined as “those conducted outside of normal work-setting” (DeSimone, Werner & Harris, 2002). Lecture method is the most common classroom training technique. In lecture, an expert in particular subject matter will convey information to the large audience. (DeSimone, Werner & Harris, 2002).

Lecture is aims to provide understanding to trainees rather than to upgrade skills or change attitudes (Ibrahim Mamat, 2001). Burke and Day (1986) suggest lecture training resulted in positive learning either conducted alone or combination with other methods. Earley (1987) found role playing and lecture methods are equally effective to develop skills among trainees. (as cited in DeSimone, Werner & Harris, 2002 )

Experimental methods consist of role play, case studies, and business games and simulations. The most popular experimental training method is role play. A case study is a training method that aims to

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